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Re: "in-program" backup facility

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  • Subject: [mg111883] Re: "in-program" backup facility
  • From: David Bailey <dave at>
  • Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2010 01:20:23 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <i4b1tv$b52$>

On 16/08/10 10:55, Bill Rowe wrote:
> On 8/15/10 at 7:36 AM, plindsay.0 at (peter) wrote:
>> I've seen a few posts about this and I'm wondering if I am missing
>> the point [ again ]. Surely folks are managing their own backups -
>> perhaps using "Time Machine" on the mac or whatever. The arguments
>> in favour or regular backups surely extend beyond the use of
>> Mathematica and apply generally to the use of a personal computer ?
> Undoubtedly, such backups are done by many users here. But, such
> backups don't entirely resolve the issue.
> Time Machine and the like backup the entire hard drive. The
> default interval for Time Machine is 1 hour. With Mathematica, a
> substantial amount of work can be lost when restoring a notebook
> to what it was 1 hour ago.
> And note, Time Machine backs up the file as it exists on the
> hard drive. If you have not saved your work periodically, the
> file backed up by Time Machine could be quite a bit more than 1
> hour old.
> Creating some sort of script to automate periodically saving the
> state of a notebook and decreasing the interval Time Machine
> uses for backups isn't a viable solution either. If you decrease
> the interval between backups enough, then Time Machine will be
> perpetually running and never complete a backup. Further, with a
> scheme to automatically save notebooks there will be the chance
> Time Machine will be writing the notebook to the backup at the
> same time it is being modified (saved) by the automated save
> script. And the probability of this occurring clearly increases
> as the interval between backups is decreased. The result of such
> collisions will be the copy of the notebook in the Time Machine
> backup won't be stable and likely is unusable.
> Programs designed to backup all files that have changed on a
> hard drive really aren't replacements for what is being asked for.

I'd say some sort of 'nag' function that just reminded the user that he 
had been working on a notebook for x minutes, and wouldn't he like to 
save. An automatic save can easily happen at the worst possible moment - 
say half way through a long series of find/replace operations!

I like control over what is going on.

David Bailey

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